Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > > >

Vehicular Cycling (VC) No other subject has polarized the A&S members like VC has. Here's a place to share, debate, and educate.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-07-16, 08:17 AM   #1
mconlonx 
Nobody
Thread Starter
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 7,148
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 612 Post(s)
Where might we be without VC?

For thoughtful consideration and measured debate...

Here’s what happened when one city rejected vehicular cycling
BY TOM BABIN ON JUNE 15, 2016 IN CITIES

In the 1970s, an American named John Forester came up with an idea for keeping cyclists safe while riding on busy roads. The idea was that bicycles should be piloted, and be treated, like motor vehicles — riding alongside moving cars, using hand signals and crossing traffic for left-hand turns. The idea, which he called vehicular cycling, caught on, and it soon became the dominant theory of bicycle transportation in North America.

Today, that idea has been almost universally rejected. Cities everywhere are scrambling to do something Forester argued against for generations: building bike lanes separated from cars.

But here’s a thought experiment: What if Forester’s ideas had never caught on? What if, 40 years ago, the idea that all people on bikes should be strong and confident enough to mingle with cars was rejected, and today’s ideas of building safe, bike-specific infrastructure had been embraced back then? What would North American cities look like?

Here’s one idea: They’d look like Montreal.
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-16, 11:35 AM   #2
enigmaT120
Senior Member
 
enigmaT120's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Falls City, OR
Bikes: 2012 Salsa Fargo 2, Rocky Mountain Fusion, circa '93
Posts: 1,896
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
I think this article must have come right after the above one:


Vehicular cycling is dead, just don?t bury the body yet ? Shifter


VC is the only way for me to get around in my rural county on a bike. We have one separated bike path going from Monmouth to Salem. I don't use it because I'm already on a bus by that point; my riding is beyond Monmouth. The VC movement may be dead according to these articles, but like the one I linked to pointed out, you still have to do it in lots of places if you want to ride a bike at all.
enigmaT120 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-16, 11:42 AM   #3
mconlonx 
Nobody
Thread Starter
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 7,148
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 612 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
VC is the only way for me to get around in my rural county on a bike. We have one separated bike path going from Monmouth to Salem. I don't use it because I'm already on a bus by that point; my riding is beyond Monmouth. The VC movement may be dead according to these articles, but like the one I linked to pointed out, you still have to do it in lots of places if you want to ride a bike at all.
This, and it echoes my rural/urban commute. However I have ridden in cities with dedicated cycling infrastructure and appreciated it. One of the points of the article is that VC set back efforts for dedicated cycling infrastructure, however, so it could very well be that one of the reasons we both still have to CV even in rural areas is because of that set back. Complete Streets legislation could very well have mitigated this...
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-16, 10:13 AM   #4
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
I think this article must have come right after the above one:


Vehicular cycling is dead, just don?t bury the body yet ? Shifter


VC is the only way for me to get around in my rural county on a bike. We have one separated bike path going from Monmouth to Salem. I don't use it because I'm already on a bus by that point; my riding is beyond Monmouth. The VC movement may be dead according to these articles, but like the one I linked to pointed out, you still have to do it in lots of places if you want to ride a bike at all.

Amazing... you clearly missed the premise offered in the OP...

Quote:
What if, 40 years ago, the idea that all people on bikes should be strong and confident enough to mingle with cars was rejected, and today’s ideas of building safe, bike-specific infrastructure had been embraced back then?
If 40 years ago, it was determined that dedicated cycling infrastructure should be build and be as complete as possible... likely there would be a lot more places where you don't have to ride VC... maybe even your example.

For all we know, the US may have been made to look more like Copenhagen... which around 40 years ago, rejected the notion that VC was the answer.
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-16, 10:21 AM   #5
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Bikes:
Posts: 2,061
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
I think the entire article is based on flimsy evidence and sketchy history. Gives John Forester way too much credit and grossly inflates the impact of his theories. The idea that no one was building bike lanes in the 70s because everyone agreed that VC was the way to go is just not true.
jon c. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 08:28 AM   #6
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi
Posts: 23,846
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by genec View Post
For all we know, the US may have been made to look more like Copenhagen... which around 40 years ago, rejected the notion that VC was the answer.
Takes a huge leap of faith to think that many (if any) communities anywhere ever even considered the notion of Vehicular Cycling as promoted by John Forester and his acolytes, as an answer to anything, let alone "rejected" it.
I-Like-To-Bike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 08:42 AM   #7
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Takes a huge leap of faith to think that many (if any) communities anywhere ever even considered the notion of Vehicular Cycling as promoted by John Forester and his acolytes, as an answer to anything, let alone "rejected" it.
Well Dallas had a cycling coordinator that for years squelched any bike infrastructure due to his belief that VC was "good enough."

And I suspect that any politician that caught wind of Forester and his followers simply took it as a notion to avoid funding bicycle projects that simply were "not needed..."

It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to simply nod and then do nothing...
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 08:45 AM   #8
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I think the entire article is based on flimsy evidence and sketchy history. Gives John Forester way too much credit and grossly inflates the impact of his theories. The idea that no one was building bike lanes in the 70s because everyone agreed that VC was the way to go is just not true.
No doubt other reasons not to spend public monies also came into play... new stadiums, new developments and more roads were probably much higher on the list of things to do for a public that generally drives...
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 10:01 AM   #9
mconlonx 
Nobody
Thread Starter
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 7,148
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 612 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I think the entire article is based on flimsy evidence and sketchy history. Gives John Forester way too much credit and grossly inflates the impact of his theories. The idea that no one was building bike lanes in the 70s because everyone agreed that VC was the way to go is just not true.
I don't think it helped that non-cycling-advocacy-anti-bike-infrastructure-forces found a political ally within the cycling advocate community, where bike infrastructure is concerned...
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 10:11 AM   #10
andr0id
Senior Member
 
andr0id's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 2,194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 186 Post(s)
I just want a painted bike lane with a double stripe on major roads and thoroughfares.

Sorry, but dedicated infrastructure has too many problems to be a good solution.

1) Increases the belief among drivers that bicycles DON'T belong on the road with them. Why aren't you cycling on that bike path where you belong???

2) Dedicate paths only go where the politicians want them to go, not where I want to go today.

3) Dedicated paths force the cyclists to stop at every damn cross street when alongside a major thoroughfare.

4) Dedicated paths eventually become saturated with dogs, cats, baby strollers, walkers, joggers and clueless cyclists swerving all over the path with **** stuffed in their ears, oblivious to the world and preventing anyone that is riding at a reasonable pace with a destination in mind from getting there in any reasonable amount of time.
andr0id is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 10:52 AM   #11
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi
Posts: 23,846
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by genec View Post
Well Dallas had a cycling coordinator that for years squelched any bike infrastructure due to his belief that VC was "good enough."

And I suspect that any politician that caught wind of Forester and his followers simply took it as a notion to avoid funding bicycle projects that simply were "not needed..."

It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to simply nod and then do nothing...
You are correct, there was that one joker in Dallas who swallowed the entire jug of Forester VC Kool -Aid and mucked over Dallas bicyclists for years under its influence.

BTW, does anyone have any insight on whether the Cycling Savvy folks in Orlando (a politer version of Foresterism) have any actual influence on bicycling conditions in that city or anywhere else?

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-11-16 at 10:57 AM.
I-Like-To-Bike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-16, 01:22 PM   #12
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
You are correct, there was that one joker in Dallas who swallowed the entire jug of Forester VC Kool -Aid and mucked over Dallas bicyclists for years under its influence.

BTW, does anyone have any insight on whether the Cycling Savvy folks in Orlando (a politer version of Foresterism) have any actual influence on bicycling conditions in that city or anywhere else?
The interesting contrast is Fort Worth, which has a mayor that is a cyclist... The city has been laying down a fair amount of bike lane, and has also installed some nice bike paths, the latter resulting in a destination restaurant/bike shop at the terminus of one of the bike paths. There are also some nice connections to other restaurants near downtown. Now granted, Fort Worth is no Davis CA, but for "cowtown" they have actually done a nice job on recreational bike paths.

Transportation is another matter... so, in the land of big trucks and old brick streets... transportation cycling has a long way to go.
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-16, 04:45 AM   #13
Stadjer
Senior Member
 
Stadjer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Groningen
Bikes: Gazelle rod brakes, Batavus compact, Peugeot hybrid
Posts: 335
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 167 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by genec View Post
If 40 years ago, it was determined that dedicated cycling infrastructure should be build and be as complete as possible... likely there would be a lot more places where you don't have to ride VC... maybe even your example.

For all we know, the US may have been made to look more like Copenhagen... which around 40 years ago, rejected the notion that VC was the answer.
Did they really? I'm not too familiar with Copenhagen, but as I understand it all streets are accessible for bikes and a lot of them have no bike lanes because they are too narrow. Often those are also too narrow to pass a bike in a car without beeing at least invited to by the cyclist. So in the majority of the streets (not the majority of miles probably because these are mostly little streets), it is VC there.

With cycling in numbers like there, the perspective changes. Imo the general rule is in fact VC, and the exception is the main roads with (physically) seperated cycling lanes. These roads with cycle lanes are actually not cycling infrastructure but car infrastructure, because this infrastructure allows cars to speed up beyond the reach of their fellow road users. Without it they would have to adapt their speed to the slower road users, because those can't go faster.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favour of cycle lanes in America. But when those cause a significant increase in cycling cities will change to a VC environment where the roads with bikelanes will be appreciated by the motorists for beeing faster.
Stadjer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-16, 01:16 PM   #14
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Bikes:
Posts: 6,302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 86 Post(s)
The only real influences of John Forester that I recall were in influencing the writing of the vehicle code for California (copied extensively) that outlined that cyclists need not cringe in the gutter on roadways where that would invite dangerous passing by motorists (Okay, it was worded a bit differently.) and in articulating to new cyclists how to ride like the "club riders" from which he was spawned. These contributions likely forestalled the end of the second bike boom in America, but probably not by much (1974 is still the biggest year in American history for bike unit sales).

The segregationist folks have now held sway for nearly twenty years. We're still looking at national bike commuter numbers of 0.6%. New York City, which spent boatloads to implement segregation under Bloomberg, has about 1.5 times the national average, not exactly a glowing success, especially when compared with Davis of the 1970's/early 1980's where bike trips outnumbered car trips without much of any infrastructure (a handful of bike lanes and one bike path).

These fights over the supposedly powerful VC bogeyman are lame. Few enough people ever heard of VC until the rise of the segregationists, who needed a bad guy. Sure, Forester's personality makes him a great bad guy, but he really didn't affect history much. Had he never existed, all we would have seen is a slightly, probably unnoticeable, quicker decline of cycling in the 1980's and vehicle codes that make it near-impossible to bike tour or ride any real distances.
B. Carfree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-16, 09:42 AM   #15
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi
Posts: 23,846
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
The only real influences of John Forester that I recall were in influencing the writing of the vehicle code for California (copied extensively) that outlined that cyclists need not cringe in the gutter on roadways where that would invite dangerous passing by motorists (Okay, it was worded a bit differently.)

[SKIP]
Had he never existed, all we would have seen is a slightly, probably unnoticeable, quicker decline of cycling in the 1980's and vehicle codes that make it near-impossible to bike tour or ride any real distances.
Are there any sources or references about John Forester's alleged influence on the writing of the vehicle code for California, other than history as written by John Forester, or by his acolytes who quote/paraphrase Forester's version of "history"?
I-Like-To-Bike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-16, 08:02 AM   #16
mr_bill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Massachusetts
Bikes:
Posts: 1,357
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
SCR-47 STATEWIDE BICYCLE COMMITTEE FINAL REPORT FEBRUARY 10, 1975

An interesting thought experiment is to wonder what might have happened to the US without the spread of Far Right as Practical or FRAP with exceptions, and Mandatory Bike Lane laws.

Oh wait, we don't have to do that as a thought experiment, since there are states that either never adopted or repealed such traffic laws.

Wonder what we can learn from them?

(BTW, some "discussion" from a dozen years ago at Chainguard.)

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 08-01-16 at 08:09 AM.
mr_bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-16, 09:04 AM   #17
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi
Posts: 23,846
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
SCR-47 STATEWIDE BICYCLE COMMITTEE FINAL REPORT FEBRUARY 10, 1975

An interesting thought experiment is to wonder what might have happened to the US without the spread of Far Right as Practical or FRAP with exceptions, and Mandatory Bike Lane laws.

Oh wait, we don't have to do that as a thought experiment, since there are states that either never adopted or repealed such traffic laws.

Wonder what we can learn from them?

(BTW, some "discussion" from a dozen years ago at Chainguard.)

-mr. bill
Thanks for the references. The first notes that John Forester was one of the nine Advisors on the SCR-47 Statewide
Bicycle Committee, in addition to at least a hundred representatives from cycling groups, safety organizations, Legal, Legislative and Law Enforcement Groups, planners and engineers. It can be assumed he presented his views to the committee when they were formulating recommendations to the California Legislature pertaining to bicycle operation issues of Statewide significance.
I did not notice reference to any recommendations that are attributable specifically to John Forester's influence or arguments, or that Forester influenced the recommendations and subsequent Vehicle Code any more or less than anybody else on the Committee.

John Forester acolytes are welcome to believe whatever they read in the self serving versions of bicycling "history" written by John Forester on his Web Sites or in his books.

The reference to Dr. John Scott's participation in the process is interesting and relevant and it is not hard to believe that he personally could have had far more influence in the formulation of the Committee's recommendations than Forester ever could. I had a friendly email correspondence with him for several years before his untimely murder by a person whom he had assisted. Dr. Scott was a very intelligent and articulate advocate for bicycling activities and could be charming even when he was taking/making provocative positions on various issues. This method of friendly persuasion was something totally foreign then and now to John Forester.
I-Like-To-Bike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-16, 10:23 AM   #18
hotbike
Senior Member
 
hotbike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Long Island, New York
Bikes: a lowrider BMX, a mountain bike, a faired recumbent, and a loaded touring bike
Posts: 2,874
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
An Article appeared today:
Lessons from 1890s bike advocates - Houston Chronicle
hotbike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-16, 12:17 PM   #19
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 456 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
"to continue reading this story, you must be a subscriber of the Houston Chronicle."
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-16, 12:41 PM   #20
mr_bill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Massachusetts
Bikes:
Posts: 1,357
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
From Houston Chronicle, to Houston Chronical, sans paywall....

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 09-01-16 at 12:46 PM.
mr_bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-16, 10:44 AM   #21
hotbike
Senior Member
 
hotbike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Long Island, New York
Bikes: a lowrider BMX, a mountain bike, a faired recumbent, and a loaded touring bike
Posts: 2,874
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Thanks, mr.bill, you saved my butt... It went straight to the article when I read it. IDK about this "paywall"...
hotbike is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:47 AM.